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Pope announces papal visit to Holy Land


(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis will make a papal visit to the Holy Land in May of this year. The Holy Father made the announcement after the recitation of the Sunday Angelus overlooking a rainy St Peter’s Square. Speaking to pilgrims who braved the elements to hear his words, the Pope said, “in the climate of joy, typical of this Christmas season , I wish to announce that from 24 to 26 May next, God willing, I will make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land .
The Holy Father went on to say that the main purpose of the trip is to commemorate the historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras, which took place on January 5th , 50 years ago.
During his journey, Pope Francis told those present, that he would be visiting Amman, Bethlehem and Jerusalem. He also said there would be an Ecumenical Meeting held at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre with the representatives of the Christian Churches of Jerusalem, together with Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople. He ended his announcement by saying, “As of now I ask you to pray for this pilgrimage.”

Before the Angelus the Pope described how Christmas reveals the immense love God has for humanity. He added that “with the birth of Jesus not only is a new world born, but it is also a world that can always be renewed . God, said Pope Francis, is always present to nurture men and women and to cleanse the world of sin and he stressed that Jesus does not give up on us and never ceases to offer himself and his grace that saves us. The Holy Father concluded by thanking all those who had sent him messages of good wishes for Christmas and the New Year. Listen to Lydia O'Kane's report RealAudioMP3